BlackBerry proposals lacked any turnaround plan

The head of one of Canada’s top pension funds confirmed on Thursday his firm was involved in talks over a potential buyout of BlackBerry but said he never saw a business plan he was confident would turn around the company.

Leo de Bever, chief executive of the C$70 billion ($66.6 billion) Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo), said all of Canada’s biggest pension funds were involved in discussions over BlackBerry.

However, de Bever said AIMCo was never presented with a business plan that would have justified an investment in the company.

“You had six or seven entities darting in and out with various propositions,” he told reporters. “But there was never a unified business plan to say ‘Okay, this is what we need to do’.”

“What they ended up doing was raising a billion dollars but what are they going to do with it?” asked de Bever. “I haven’t seen anything that basically says ‘Okay, this is step two, three and four’.”

De Bever said he believes BlackBerry retains considerable value in its assets that could be better developed, including its patent portfolio, real estate and cash. But he adds that while he is rooting for the re-emergence of the company, AIMCo will not invest in the company until it can again demonstrate it has a plan to revitalize its business.

“I can’t be Canada Inc. I can’t be out there supporting BlackBerry just because it’s a Canadian company. I can only do it when there is a strategy that makes sense for us to work along with,” he said. “If such a strategy emerges of course we would look a it.”

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